While renewable energy sources continue to increase in use, fossil fuels will remain a large part of our power generation for decades to come. Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies are viewed as a key strategy in significantly reducing future emissions and mitigating the effects of greenhouse gases.
By Nick Wolfe
Current pilot programs around the world show promise for commercial deployment of 1st generation CO2 capture technologies in the coming years. This highly technical field will depend on a skilled workforce of experts in earth and climate science. In order to rapidly advance the knowledge base and encourage professional development, the Research Experience in Carbon Sequestration (RECS) prevails as the world’s first multidisciplinary intensive CCS summer program.
Director Pamela Tomski of EnTech Strategies founded RECS in 2004 as a premier global CCS education and training experience for professionals and students ranging from early graduate level to advanced PhD’s. The 10-day interactive program combines traditional classroom sessions with hands on field activities that provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the technical aspects associated with CCS such as geological site characterization.
In addition to studying scientific challenges, RECS covers elements of policy and economic issues associated with deployment. Thanks to support and sponsorship from the US Department of Energy and the Southern Company, faculty and students converge from around the world for a unique opportunity to advance career development, research and training.
“I never thought that I would be able to learn so much so quickly about a technology that was previously foreign to me. The faculty and students were outstanding, making the program superb overall. I would recommend the RECS program to anyone entering the CCS field. It was an invaluable experience”– stated Karma Sawyer, a fellow from the U.S. Department of Energy ARPA-E program.
Although RECS only occurs once every summer, the program has given birth to other associations that foster networking and education year round. Inter-University Student Initiative in Carbon Sequestration (ISICS) brings together graduate students and young professionals in various areas of CCS to exchange ideas, discuss their research, and promote inter-university collaboration in an informal setting. ISICS Co-Chair Mary Kang of Princeton University hopes the group will assist in connecting people in different departments and research institutions on a regular basis, a necessity in advancing the multi-disciplinary CCS research and development.
With last year’s program taking place in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the surrounding area, this year RECS will be held June 5-15, in Birmingham, Alabama with 30 participants. Applications are currently being accepted through April 15.
For more information and to apply, visit: http://recsco2.org/
Nick Wolfe is a RECS 2010 alumni and recent graduate of the Global Energy Management masters degree program at the University of Colorado Denver. He is an associate publisher for Colorado Energy News and project director for the 2011 Energy Career and Education Guide.